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The Ottawa 67s have been rebuilding for the past two seasons, and so when they moved Ottawa Senators prospect Cody Ceci to the Owen Sound Attack at the 2013 trade deadline, the key piece coming back to the club was then 16-year-old, defenceman Jacob Middleton. Middleton had been the Attack’s first round pick, 8th overall, in the 2012 OHL draft. Middleton has made himself a core member of the 67s playing top four minutes, and important defensive situations, including penalty kill time for Ottawa. He also added two goals and 21 assists in 65 games to show some signs of untapped offensive potential in his game. With a strong second half, the 67s would fight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern conference into the final weekend of the OHL season, but it would ultimately be not quite enough, as they would finish 9th. Middleton was part of Team Ontario at the Under 17 Hockey Challenge, getting some international experience under his belt.
Defense — shoots Right
Born Jan 2 1996 — Stratford, ONT
Height 6.04 — Weight 208 [194 cm/94 kg]
At 6’4″ tall Jacob Middleton has the ideal size that NHL teams are looking and has surely caught many scouts eyes ahead of the 2014 NHL draft. He makes full use of that size as he plays the game tough, throwing big hits, playing mean, clearing the front of the net, and being aggressive in the corners. He has also shown the ability to fight and is willing to stick up for teammates. His positioning is good in his own zone, and a long stick and big frame help Middleton to cut down on passing and shooting lanes.
Middleton shows great mobility for his size. He is a decent skater, with decent speed in both directions and solid acceleration. He shows very good edgework and agility for a a big man, allowing him to change directions quickly and cover a lot of ice. This agility, and edgework allows him to adjust and throw particularly big hits against on-rushing forwards. He is strong on his skates and has great balance which helps in the battles in front of the net and in the corners.
Offensively, Middleton shows good vision and a strong passing game. He doesn’t lead the rush often, but he can skate the puck out of danger in his zone, and then make a good first pass to start the transition. In the offensive zone, he is also adept at setting up teammates. His point shot lacks some power for a 6’4″ defender, and could also use more accuracy and this is what really holds him back from being a big time point producer from the point.
Jacob Middleton’s game is reminiscent of Dennis Seidenberg of the Boston Bruins, however this isn’t a skill comparison, just one based on style. Middleton could grow into a top 4 defenceman with important shutdown and penalty kill responsibilities if he reaches his ceiling.
Here are some highlights of Jacob Middleton in action. Unfortunately all that has been uploaded to youtube are interviews and fights.
Come back tomorrow to check out my #53 prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft.
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